So much so that when I phone a customer service line and request that information be sent to me in a format that I can read, I expect it to be sent to me in my requested format; Braille, or in an electronic format that I can read. I do not expect that a call taker or service rep would offer to send it to me in printed format nor do I expect them to tell me that I should ask a sighted neighbor, friend, or family member to read it to me. Nor do I expect them to tell me that I can get sighted assistance to help me complete forms that contain my personal information.
Under the Canadian Charter of rights, all Canadians are guaranteed equal access to information; on the Internet, by phone, and in any other medium that is available. Sending me forms in printed format does not guarantee my privacy; it infringes on my privacy and discriminates against me. Asking me to complete a form in PDF format is also discriminating against my privacy because as a rule of thumb, blind and sight impaired persons are unable to interact with forms and files that are in PDF formats.
I can almost guarantee you that if for some reason, a sighted person were somehow asked to share their information with a stranger, they would strongly object and in essence this is what happens each time we are asked to seek sighted assistance when it comes to customer service departments either unwilling or unable to provide us with forms and/or information in alternate formats. For those of you who are not too familiar with the term alternate formats; these formats apply to information and/or forms being provided to the sight impaired in any of the following formats: Braille, large print, electronic text that excludes PDF, and audio.
It is time for the blind and sight impaired community in Canada to start pushing harder for all forms of government as well as for federally and provincially regulated agencies and companies to provide us with forms and information in alternate formats. Anything less is a direct infringement to our privacy and under the Canadian Charter of Rights, this is illegal.
I’m Donna J. Jodhan wishing you a terrific day and weekend.
To reach me, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
and I would be delighted to send you an electronic copy of our latest newsletter.
Here is a complete list of where you can view Donna’s blogs and editorials.
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for allhttp://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
a weekly feature on important answers to consumers concerns http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm
Weekly blogs for language professionals and accessibility consultantshttp://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
A monthly editorial on issues on diversityhttp://www.diversityintheworkplace.ca
a monthly editorial on business issues and concernshttp://www.sterlingcreations.ca/magazine.html
weekly editorials on accessibility issues in Canada http://www.accessibilitynews.ca/acnews/editorials/donna.php
Editorials: An International perspective on issues of accessibility and disabilityhttp://www.accessibilitynewsinternational.com
(under the editorials section, an international perspective)
A general perspective on issues of access and accessibilityhttp://numpadplus.com/blog/?page_id=7